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Letters
Saturday, 18 June 2016
Doing Business in Jamaica 2017
Topic: Business

By October 2016, the World Bank and International Financial Corporation will publish their 14th report on the Ease of Doing Business Index. The present government will have little opportunity to influence the outcome of that report, because the period that will be under review ends next month.

Nevertheless, it is important that the thrust to improve Jamaica’s performance does not wane. Referring to Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency in “Jamaica Takes the Leap in Doing Business Indicators: 5 Lessons for the Wider Caribbean”, Navita Anganu-Ramroop lamented that:

“Not all countries are bothered by rankings, and therefore not all countries make a concerted effort to change and attempt to improve same, failing to realize that the competitiveness of nations are equally important and necessary for the competitiveness of firms operating within the country”.

Doing Business 2015 also states that Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is one of the regions “with the smallest share of economies implementing regulatory reforms...”. In fact, Jamaica and The Bahamas were the only Caribbean nations that actually improved their global ranking in that report.

The Bahamas moved from 108th to 106th, while Jamaica moved from 71st to 64th out of 189 global economies.  In the Gleaner publication dated October 28, 2015, the article “Jamaica Cited for Doing Reforms in Doing Business Report” stated that:

“Jamaica... has been cited by the World Bank, alongside Costa Rica and Mexico, as executing the most reforms in the region in the last five years”, and “also found that Jamaica is among the global top 10 improvers ‘as it implemented a regional high of four reforms’ .

Mexico ranked 38th , the highest ranking economy in LAC. Costa Rica is 5th and Jamaica 6th . Even though Jamaica moved up 7 places globally, it only managed to hold on to its 6th position, because Costa Rica moved from 79th to 58th globally, up 21 places, thus preventing Jamaica from advancing regionally.

With the widening of the Panama Canal and construction of a second canal in Nicaragua, a significant increase in trade and investment can be expected in the Caribbean Basin. So, improving competitiveness of local firms is imperative and this through greater effort than before.

It is also important to realize that 11 out of the 12 highest ranked nations within LAC are located in the Caribbean Basin. Jamaica cannot afford to slack up on its previous effort. It should be of no comfort that greater trade is expected in the Greater Caribbean if we are ill prepared to benefit from it.


Posted by phcjam at 2:40 PM EDT
Tuesday, 4 October 2011
Competitiveness in the Jamaican Telecom Sector
Topic: Business
Dear Editor, I write with regard to Al Edwards’ article entitled “Answering LIME’s Factotums – Here and Elsewhere”, published in the Caribbean Business Report of September 30, 2011.  I have been following the debate about the Digicel/Claro deal and have also noted the two letters referred to: namely, “Don’t Tie the Competition’s Hands Behind Its Back” by Martin Bailey, and “Disingenuous Mr. Edwards” by David Headley.  However, I happen to subscribe to the views these letter-writers on the matter. In fact, I take exception to the tone of Mr. Edwards’ article.  Irrespective of whether he disagrees with their views or not, I would have expected a seasoned journalist to show more restraint and at the very least respect their right to hold an opposing view: just as I expect to respect his viewpoint.  Nevertheless, let me get “to the heart of the matter”. The matter at hand is to ensure competition exists between local telecoms, be they LIME, Claro, Digicel, or any other: the same competition that allowed Digicel to become the market leader.  As such, this organization of industry could be discussed without reference to any of the know competitors and the letter writers seen to be simply defending the status quo and being unwilling to see the gains eroded by allowing one telecom to achieve market dominance.  If we assume for the moment that “LIME has lost its competitive edge”, is this not reason in itself to ensure competition is maintained in the marketplace? It was also said that Claro “had to retreat due to its inability to permeate Digicel’s impenetrability”.  But, didn’t Digicel also retreat from Claro’s market?  When Claro took over Oceanic Digital’s MiPhone operation in Jamaica, it was rumoured that this was in response to Digicel’s entry into their primary market.  So, Claro’s primary goal would not have been to become market leader in Jamaica but rather to ensure Digicel could not expand in their primary market.  Who really achieved their objectives here?  If Jamaica did not have a third telecom, this scenario could not have been easily realized. The free market system cannot be left unregulated.  It is the duty of government to provide a framework which facilitates competition.  The approval of Digicel’s acquisition of Claro Jamaica was granted by the Prime Minister “in a statement to parliament on August 30, 2011” with conditions.  It is reasonable to assume that the condition of Digicel having to operate Claro Jamaica as a distinct operation was a save-guard to preserve competition.  So, Digicel cannot “rationalize its operations, unify and update its network”. Despite what we remember of Cable and Wireless Jamaica, before they became LIME, let us not forget that Cable and Wireless Jamaica was once called the Jamaica Telephone Company: an entity which had been nationalized by the government at the time and was later divested to LIME’s parent company Cable and Wireless: just as our ‘beloved’ Jamaica Public Service was also divested.  Even if it had been common knowledge at the time that Cable and Wireless would have been granted a guaranteed monopoly, no one would have cared.  We all thought what we were getting was superior to what we had.  Let us not make the same mistake again.  Let us maintain and improve what we have achieved to date and not erode it by allowing any telecom to achieve market dominance, especially by acquisition. Paul Hay MBA, BA(Arch.)Managing PartnerPAUL HAY Capital Projects Caribbean Capital Projects Management    P. O. Box 3367Constant Springs, Kgn. 8Jamaica, W.I. tel: 1 (876) 756-0631cel: 1 (876) 324-4274fax: 1 (876) 756-0631 e-mail: paul.hay@phcjam.comskype name: phcjamtwitter: www.twitter.com/phcjamprofile: http://www.linkedin.com/company/paul-hay-capital-projectsweb: http://www.phcjam.com 

Posted by phcjam at 4:29 PM EDT

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